Skiers spikers roll over rival Rams
ASPEN Starting all four seniors on senior night, Aspen’s spikers finally played the match first-year coach Jen Schrock had been envisioning all season.Keyed by precision serving and aggressive hitting, Aspen started fast in all three games of a 25-16, 25-21, 26-24 sweep of rival Roaring Fork. The win was the Skiers’ second in as many matches after a trying 1-14 start, and the first sweep of the season.”Amazing,” said Aspen senior outside hitter Sydney Adams. “We’ve worked our butts off so hard in practice. This is what we’ve been working for and we finally got it.””Finally, they do it,” Shrock said. “They knew they can do it, I know they could do it, and now they’re showing other people they can do it.”Adams, Shana Hassol, Sally Meyer and Megan Jonsson all were on the court at the start of the first game, while usual starters Elissa Walter, Arielle Shipe and Katy Evans sat on the bench.
With junior setter Kylie Westerlind directing traffic and serving up assists, the emotion-driven senior lineup rolled off eight straight points to open the game and staked Aspen to a 16-3 lead. Meyer pounded home three kills during that stretch, and Adams served up three aces in a row.Roaring Fork rallied to string together an 11-4 run to cut the lead to eight, but wouldn’t get any closer, doing itself in with four costly hitting mistakes during the Skiers’ closing 5-2 run.Schrock said she promised her seniors nothing past starting. Their play would be the determining factor for their minutes. The message certainly got across.”There was no for sure staying in there for the seniors, but none of them were doing anything wrong, so I couldn’t pull them,” she said. “It was working.”In the second game, Aspen pounced again, jumping out to a 9-3 lead behind four aces from Westerlind. The Rams rallied back, chipping away at Aspen’s lead at the front of the net with hitting from freshmen Niki Burns, Landon Garvik and junior Maria Flores, and two aces from freshman Jordan Clingan.Her team’s lead down to 20-19, Schrock called a timeout, which proved to be critical. Roaring Fork got the next point to tie the game, but the Skiers won five out of the next six to close out the win.
“We need to get out of the gates a lot faster,” said Roaring Fork coach Carrie Schultz, who took over the reins for the Rams varsity just a week ago. “Anytime it’s a senior night, those players are playing the best game they’ve probably played all season. We just weren’t quite ready for that.”In the final game, Schrock used every single one of her players to get the win – a move that made the sweep that much more special, she said. The teams matched each other point-for-point early before Aspen reeled off five straight points to pull ahead, 15-11.The young Rams refused to roll over, however, even after Aspen went on a 4-1 run to get to game point. Roaring Fork surged back to tie the game at 24, which prompted Schrock to call her last timeout.Jonsson then forced an Aspen sideout with a blast that put her team one point away from victory. The Skiers won the point during a furious final rally, with the match ending when a Roaring Fork player hit a shot past the end line.”Our team has really come together,” said Adams, who finished with six kills and four aces. “We had some troubles in the early season, but we came together for this game, and we became a team tonight and just showed everyone that we can be positive and win it with each other.”
“We decided to move it down,” said Meyers, who added six kills of her own. “We won a match in five, then in four on Saturday, and today was our match in three.”Westerlind finished with 23 assists, and Walter also had six kills.Aspen (3-14 overall, 3-9 3A Western Slope) finishes the regular season on the road, at Gunnison at 6:30 p.m. Friday, then a match with Olathe at 1 p.m. Saturday.Roaring Fork plays at Basalt at 5:30 p.m. Friday, then finishes at Gunnison at 3 p.m. Saturday.Nate Peterson’s e-mail address is email@example.com
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Prior to starting his trek across U.S., Larkins had never run more than a marathon and had never been to Colorado